Laurell K. Hamilton is the soft-core porn author of choice for fantasy fans. Her 'Anita Blake Vampire Hunter' series is in the double-digits by now, and she's beginning to suffer from Big Author Syndrome (BAS - symptoms include an obvious lack of editing, meandering plotlines, and oversized volumes - see Robert Jordan).
A Stroke of Midnight is an entry in her other fantasy series, about 'Meredith Gentry, elf princess/private detective'. The first one was pretty good. The second one was a bit soggy. At the third one I was afraid she was going to run out of inventive sexual postures. This fourth volume marks a jump in quality. Hamilton thankfully gives Gentry and her coterie of stunningly beautiful elf studs something to do (a murder that needs solving) besides manuever for the throne, and she proves my fear that she would run out of ideas completely wrong. Meredith, it turns out, is far more than just a contender for the throne - she is to be instrumental in restoring magic to Faerie.
The book is crowded with plot points and if the murder gets, eventually, somwhat lost in the swirling mists of hormones and intrigue, it's perfectly forgiveable.
New readers should not start with this book, but with the first in the series.